Category: Trial Tips

The Development of a Trial Theme & Theory

The Development of a Trial Theme & Theory Lilys D. McCoy Introduction Much has been written about the importance of selecting and advancing a theme at trial. But while theme is important, it is distinct from, and subordinate to, the theory of the case. You may be thinking, “wait, aren’t theme and theory essentially the […]

courtroom gavel

Five Ways to Complicate Character Evidence

FIVE WAYS TO COMPLICATE CHARACTER EVIDENCE By Lilys D. McCoy Introduction The topic of character evidence is notoriously difficult. Law students struggle with it, bar takers dread it, and practitioners handle it with mixed results. At first, the basic concept underlying the rules of character evidence seems to make sense: do not use evidence of […]

Witness testifying

How to Avoid That “One Question Too Many” on Cross-Examination Using Storytelling Principles – A Look at Andrew Stanton’s TED Talk

You’ve heard it many times before, perhaps from a law school professor or from a seasoned trial attorney at a continuing legal education seminar: “When it comes to cross examination, one of the most important things to know is when to sit down. Don’t ask the  question that is one-question-too-many!” Those veterans of the courtroom […]

Five Essential Considerations for Expert Witnesses

FIVE ESSENTIAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR EXPERT WITNESSES By Hon. Robert Trentacosta Introduction: Expert witnesses are seemingly ubiquitous in litigation. Cases that involve scientific, medical, technical or specialized evidence will almost always require experts to explain the evidence to lay jurors. Once you decide that you need an expert witness to prove your case, the following are […]

Admission of “Real” or Physical Evidence

EXHIBITS:  ADMISSION OF “REAL” OR PHYSICAL EVIDENCE By Hon. Robert Trentacosta Introduction: The actual objects that are factually relevant to a case are called “real” or “physical” evidence. Examples include: the gun or knife used in the crime; the stolen jewelry; torn clothing, the shredded tire, the defective power saw, a fingerprint, or the fractured […]

Exhibits: Admission of Demonstrative Evidence

EXHIBITS:  ADMISSION OF DEMONSTRATIVE EVIDENCE By Hon. Robert Trentacosta Introduction: Admission of demonstrative exhibits into evidence is a critical skill for trial lawyers. Demonstrative exhibits, such as a photograph, map, diagram, model, anatomical drawing or organizational chart, help a juror visualize the testimony of a witness and lock the image into the juror’s mind.  This […]

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